ROME, August 12 (Itar-Tass) —— The tour operator will bear expenditures in the return of Russian tourists stranded in Sicily after the Wind Jet airline has gone bankrupt, Russian Consul General to Sicily Vladimir Korotkov told Itar-Tass on Sunday.
He said it was the question of 113 tourists, including one child. The tourists failed to return to St. Petersburg from Catania on Saturday. “The Russians were offered to fly Alitalia for 250 euros extra but they declined the offer,” the consul said.
The St. Petersburg Flamingo tour operator financed the two-night stay of tourists at a Catania hotel and a flight of the Rossiya state airline to Sicily. The plane will not only transport the tourist home on Monday but will also bring in a new group of Russian tourists – Wind Jet passengers. “That is a rare case of the positive action of a tour operator under such circumstances,” the consul stressed.
In his opinion, the Wind Jet crisis is a largely speculative affair. The airline, which had reached a preliminary agreement on its blending with Alitalia, suspended flights not because it had no money to buy jet fuel but because it wanted to put pressure on partners, he said. The executives of the Italian main airline, which was on the verge of bankruptcy two years ago, declared the deal failure on Friday night.
Media reports claiming Sicily’s bankruptcy are wrong, the consul said. “Problems here are regular, but the island develops dynamically, especially in its tourism industry,” he said.
All the Wind Jet flights to Russia were cancelled on Sunday, although a jet flew from Pisa to the Moscow Domodedovo Airport with a long delay on Saturday.
“Flights are cancelled and there is no alternative so far. Russian tourists have been notified,” Executive Director of the Association of Russian Tour Operators Maia Lomidze told Itar-Tass.
The Wind Jet airline makes flight between Sicily and other Italian regions, as well as to Eastern Europe and Russia.